New Ravens wide receiver Joe Morgan, who was signed after a tryout Tuesday, said after his first practice with the team that he's already fit right into a position group composed of several undrafted free agents who fought for a role just like he has.
"I was told that before I got here, [and] I've been seeing it — guys that work hard," Morgan said. "There's a bunch of us that are all undrafted free agent type guys, so we know what goes into that. Nothing was given to us. We all worked towards the position we're at right now, and it's still a battle."
Morgan joins a group that is seeking to continue to prove itself in the absence of star receiver Steve Smith Sr., who went on injured reserve with a torn Achilles on Wednesday to clear a 53-man roster spot for Morgan. The remaining healthy receivers on the roster outside Morgan are four undrafted free agents — Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Jeremy Ross, and Jeremy Butler — plus fourth-round pick Chris Givens, who was acquired last month.
Morgan scrapped for a roster spot for five seasons in New Orleans, spending his rookie year in 2011 on injured reserve before catching 10 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. He dealt with another injury in 2013, and his biggest impact since was his 67-yard carry on a reverse against the Ravens on Monday Night Football last year.
"Our first introduction to Joe, specifically, was a pretty long play he had last year on Monday Night Football," coach John Harbaugh said. "I remember that, his speed on that. He's a guy that's been up and down their roster throughout the course of the season, and our scouts had identified him as a potential roster-add early on. We had been talking about him in our personnel meetings all season."
That speed has been Morgan's calling card since he joined the Saints, though he doesn't want that to be the only thing he can do to contribute.
"As a speed receiver, the main thing they want me to do is run. I can run with the best of them. If they tell me to go out and run a go-route, that's simple enough," he said.
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"But I've been saying my whole career that I want to be labeled as more than just a speed receiver. I'm trying to work on all my routes, everything in the route tree. Learning the offense fast is going to help me get on the field and be able to contribute."
Aaron Kromer, who was Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's offensive coordinator when Trestman was with the Chicago Bears, was previously in New Orleans, so Morgan said the concepts are "eerily similar" to what he's used to.
"Obviously, the wording is completely different, and that's what's going to take a lot of getting used to," Morgan said. "But it's nothing I can't do, just studying and getting things ready to go."
Another similarity, he said, is the quality of the quarterbacks.
"That's the great thing," Morgan said. "I'm playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, then come up here and you're playing with a guy like Joe Flacco who you can say, in the same sense, is a Hall of Fame-type quarterback. There's no drop back. There's no fall-off at all. He's going to be there, available for me if I need questions or help with any of the things the offense entails."